You wouldn’t say it when you first read about this movie, but War dogs is almost as much a comedy as it’s a drama. First off, there are many winks towards the 1980’s Al Pacino classic Scarface, starting with the blatant use of the poster itself. The pink letters are a clear sign this is not your usual run-down-the-mill crime movie.
Just like the 1983 classic, the main characters in this movie hardly take the underground crime world serious. They run around like it’s all just a game. They shoot people in the street as if they’re untouchable. Hard to imagine this story is based on true events …
The casting of two actors who primarily have been playing in silly comedies might not sound as a smart movie for a crime movie, but – as mentioned above – this is no dark tale of blood and murder. This is about two young fellas who sell guns to the highest bidder, and live their lives in style and luxuriance, before they find themselves gunning (pun intended) for a million contract with the Pentagon.
In a way, the style of the movie isn’t all that different from how Leonardo DiCaprio spends his money in The Wolf of Wall Street. There’s room for laughs, for acting out like a lunetic and spending money to the point where it becomes ugly. Maybe Jonah Hill playing in that movie as well isn’t a coincidence at all. Did you ever think of that?
Of course once things DO get serious, so does the atmosphere of the movie. The boys learn a hard lesson in who to trust and who not, and when faced against the sort of villains you would normally only find in 24 or The Shield, it becomes painfully clear these boys aren’t ready for the big game. That’s when the story becomes really interesting.
Especially the way both main actors play off against each other deserves a pat on the shoulder, as neither one of them really ever had to play a major part in a movie that required more than running around stupid and pulling mad faces to the camera. In this movie, there is actual acting required and both of them pull if off quite nicely.
However good Miles Teller tries to keep up with his counterpart – fresh of the disastrous comic book fiasco Fantastic Four – it is without a doubt Jonah Hill who gets to take the cherry off the pie. Perhaps his character is so much more fun to look at. Or Jonah Hill is simply the better actor/comedian.
Kudos to Miles Teller too of course, especially in those moments where he has to carry the movie all by himself. In the long run, it’s the scenes where both boys act shoulder by shoulder that tend to be the most fun to watch.
War dogs may not look the part, but it’s definitely one of the best original movies of 2016!
did you know?
First dramatic movie for director Todd Phillips, who has been making Hangover-movies and similar stories like it since 2010.
Give it to me straight:
Director Todd Phillips is usually a common name for making movies about crazy people drinking themselves stupid and waking up the next morning without remembering a single thing. That’s the Hangover-trilogy for you as well as Due Date, a similar comedy.
For War dogs – despite some glimmer of comedy still – the director decided to take on a whole different project. A true story and one that’s so unbelievable, it needed a special kind of director to persuade the audience that pretty much everything was true. It was a drama but with a comedy twist here and there.
The result is quite nice. Though his comedy movies will always be the better ones, War dogs is a more than decent attempt of retelling the story of two young boys selling guns to all kinds of dangerous individuals, the Pentagon included. The acting, especially of Jonah Hill, is quite refreshing at times.
Despite the ending which slowly drains a bit, the movie never bores. Still, War dogs is one of the finer movies of 2016 … go see that shit!